The Price of Honor
What price is a woman willing to pay to restore a man’s honor?
When her husband is falsely accused of treason and murdered, Isabelle de Caen vows to find those responsible and see justice done. Of royal descent, Isabelle is stunned when the king orders her hasty marriage to one of his favorites, a man she detests. To save herself from a fate too awful to contemplate, she disobeys the king’s edict and commits treason of her own to find the truth.
Childhood friend, Guy Poirier, an aristocrat in New France, has always loved Isabelle. When he discovers her hiding in his cabin aboard ship, he agrees to hide her from her fiancé and help her clear her husband’s name. It doesn’t take them long to realize there’s more at stake here than her husband’s murder. With the fate of the colony in their hands, can Isabelle and Guy prevent a war and find love in the new world?
About Susanne Matthews:
Susanne Matthews was born and raised in Eastern Ontario, Canada. She’s an avid reader of all types of books, especially those with a happily ever after. In her imagination, she’s travelled to foreign lands, past and present, and soared into the future. A retired educator, Susanne spends her time writing and creating adventures for her readers. She loves the ins and outs of romance, and the complex journey it takes to get from the first word to the last period of a novel. As she writes, her characters take on a life of their own, and she shares their fears and agonies on the road to self-discovery and love.
Excerpt from The Price of Honor
Isabelle sat in the coach stunned by the intensity of Guy’s kiss and her reaction to it. Never in her life had she felt such hunger, such desire, such need. The comtesse was wrong. There was fire inside her. It just took the right man to ignite it, and Guy was that man.
Pierre’s kisses had been gentle, his love-making sweet and pleasant, but it had never evoked the level of yearning she’d just felt in Guy’s arms. She raised her fingers to her swollen lips, still warm from his. She could still feel him there, taste him, and the cravings he’d initiated continued to burn within her.
She’d almost forgotten herself in his arms, given herself to him shamelessly, but a sudden stab of guilt had forced her to pull away. How could she be such a wanton scarcely three months after her husband’s death? Had she no shame? What must Guy think of her—not only a recent widow, but engaged to marry another man—behaving like a brazen courtesan? It was true she’d spent very little time with Pierre, but she did love him, even if that love seemed lukewarm compared to the emotions raging through her now. Love? No—this had to be lust, and she should be ashamed of herself.
As guilty as she felt about it, she sat back and closed her eyes trying to relive the experience. She might have asked to be kissed, but Guy had been a willing participant. Was he feeling guilty too, or did men feel such things? She’d been told men’s needs were different from women’s; they were more primeval, more blatantly physical. Guy had certainly been moved physically. She’d felt the bulge of his desire against her. Surely, this had to be more than lust.
Guy was a friend. He’d cared for her once. She’d found the violets he’d given her that long ago summer in the book of Spanish poetry her mother had given her. A book she’d hidden with the things she’d take with her today. Would he understand her act of treason? Isabelle pulled herself together. She’d succeeded in the first step of her plan. Not one man on that dock wouldn’t remember her. The kiss, given behind the carriage in the shelter of the door had been something special and private—a gift to herself in case her plan didn’t succeed. She’d learned valuable information from Guy—information to ensure the success of her escape. She knew the layout of the ship, the exact location of Sophie’s cabin, and had the perfect solution for getting back to Le Havre undetected.
Isabelle was out of the carriage and running into the lodge the moment the coach came to a halt. She sobbed loudly, thinking of Sophie and Guy, and how she’d feel if her plan failed, and she never saw either of them again. Any of the staff seeing her run by would think her heart was broken. She slammed her bedroom door shut. She had a lot to do, and the last thing she needed was to be interrupted.
The knock on the door was unexpected, and Isabelle started. The moment the door closed behind Murielle, Isabelle jumped off the bed. “Oh, Murielle, you scared the daylights out of me. The plan has to work; I’ll die if it doesn’t. I can’t marry the chevalier—not now, not ever.”